2019 Director Elections - Candidate Information
February 25, 2019

It's 2019 Election time and the following candidates are running for Red River Co-op director positions. Please note, biographical introductions are posted as provided by the candidates without any contribution or corrections on our part.

All completed ballots must be received before 4:30 p.m., Monday, April 1, 2019.

Ballots may be dropped off at any Red River Co-op location or by mailing them via regular post.

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Donna Zwarich*

“You’re at home here.” I began my career with Red River Cooperative in 1968, spending 12 years between the petroleum department and later, once I entered the CMA program, as Senior Accountant. I have served on the Red River Co-op Board of Directors for 3 years, including the Nominations Committee and Chair of the Audit Committee. To me, this was like coming home to where I started. 

I believe that my accounting background, my extensive Co-op experience, and my people skills have served me well as a member of the Red River Co-op Board of Directors. I am at home here.

I hope I can count on your support to vote for me again in the upcoming election!



Questions:

a) Why are you interested in serving as a Board Director of Red River Co-op?
I am interested in serving as a Board of Director of Red River Co-op because co-ops have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I believe in Red River Co-op’s vision, mission and values. I very much appreciated the opportunity of serving on the Board for the past three years and feel that the experience has enabled me to become more involved if I am re-elected for a second term. As our slogan says, I feel at home here.

b) What are your strengths and how do you see these advancing the interests of the members of Red River Co-op?
I believe my years of varied experience working in the co-op system, my knowledge of how a co-op functions, my people skills, my accounting background as well as my prior term on the Red River Co-op Board of Directors are all attributes that would assist me in advancing the interests of the members of Red River Co-op.

c) Explain your understanding of the role of the Board of Directors in a business like Red River Co-op.
The Board of Directors should act as a sounding board for management when new opportunities become available, by providing guidance, advice and governance as well as offering innovative ideas to help the business grow.

d) What experience have you had working with Co-ops?
I have been a part of the Co-op system since I was in my very early teens, working for the Winnipegosis Co-op Fisheries during the summer months in the store and pumping petroleum products from overhead tanks. I later managed this Co-op store and was responsible for the fishermen’s accounts; weekly reconciling and payments. This experience led to my being referred to Red River Co-op where I gained several years’ experience in the petroleum department, learning all accounting and inventory procedures of the bulk stations and gas bars. Upon entering the CMA program, I worked as a Senior Accounting Clerk, where I was responsible for supervising all aspects of the petroleum accounting department as well as preparing the financial statements for the Board of Directors. After leaving Red River Co-op I continued within the Co-op system assisting with the management and bookkeeping of five Co-op/Tempo gas bars and car washes.

For the past three years I have served on the Red River Co-op Board of Directors, Chair of the Audit Committee as well as serving on the Governance and Compensation and Nominations Committees.
How has this prepared you for the position you are seeking?

I feel the above experience has provided me with the knowledge and understanding required to excel as a member of the Red River Co-op Board of Directors.

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Ward Weisensel*

I’m very excited about the opportunity to represent members on the Board of Red River Cooperative. I have extensive business experience based on my career as a senior executive for both G3 Canada Ltd. and the Canadian Wheat Board. I have been on the Red River Cooperative Board for more than nine years and have been the Chairperson of the Board of Directors for almost 2 years.

If elected, I will focus on three key goals: maximizing cash back and equity for members who seek Red River Co-op for their fuel and grocery needs; enhancing member service at current and new locations in the Red River Co-op trading area; and improving communication with members of the cooperative.

I hope I can count on your support.

Questions:

a) Why are you interested in serving as a Board Director of Red River Co-op?
I have been a member of the Red River Cooperative Board for over 9 years and have been President and Chairperson of the Board of Directors for almost 2 years. I have enjoyed working with a strong team focused on growing a business that creates real value for the communities we serve. I’m a strong supporter of the cooperative model as it is democratic, truly locally owned and provides benefits to individual members based on the purchases they make from their cooperative.

b) What are your strengths and how do you see these advancing the interests of the members of Red River Co-op?
I have extensive experience in strategic planning and governance of large corporate organizations. I also have strong leadership skills as I have had significant experience working with management teams and Boards. I’m a proven communicator who has extensive experience in project financial assessment and planning as well as strategic acquisitions both at an executive management and a Board level.

c) Explain your understanding of the role of the Board of Directors in a business like Red River Co­ op?
Working closely with management, a Board of Directors is responsible for the governance of the organization by establishing broad policies and objectives based on effective and regular strategic planning. The Board is responsible for selecting and reviewing the performance of the Chief Executive Officer or General Manager. The Board is responsible for overseeing Management to ensure they are achieving the objectives based on measurement against key performance indicators. The Board is responsible to the shareholders for the organizations performance.

d) What experience have you had working with Co-ops? How has this prepared you for the position you are seeking?
I have served on every sub-committee of the Board including Community Relations, Nominations, Governance and Audit. I chaired the Audit Committee for 7 years. Most recently, I have been Chairperson of the Board of Directors for almost 2 years. This experience has provided me exposure to all aspects of Red River Cooperative. It has made me a more effective director both from a knowledge and teamwork perspective.

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Anna Maria Magnifico*

I am a senior executive, adjudicator and advisor on public and global affairs, interprovincial and international trade. A former diplomat, I worked in Canadian government and represented Manitoba in doing business abroad.

I am an experienced corporate director with service on many public, not-for-profit boards and commissions in the health, safety and financial services sectors. My skill set includes strategic planning, risk management and customer, shareholder, community relations.

To remain competitive, Red River must, and is, adapting to the disruptive changes in the food and fuel marketplace. I represent your voice and will focus on maximizing Member shareholder value via modernization, expansion and diversification with a duty to provide transparency and accountability in our operations. In seeking re-election, I ask your continuing trust and confidence.

Questions:

a) Why are you interested in serving as a Board Director of Red River Coop?
A Red River Coop Member since 2001 and Board Director since 2016, I have served as Chair of the Governance/Nominations Committees and as a member of the Audit Committee, in addition to my Officer role as Board Secretary for the past 2 years. As a result, I have gained much industry knowledge in the grocery and energy sectors and experience in the operations/governance of the Coop and seek to further contribute to its commercial success in the best interests of our Member shareholders.

b) What are your strengths and how do you see advancing the interests of Members of Red River Coop?
I have a strong commitment to cooperative principles, especially shareholder democracy. I have considerable management experience (general and financial) as well as governance experience as a director on various public, private, crown, and not-for-profit boards. I understand strategic planning and risk management. I am also an entrepreneur who started her own consultancy and worked with the wholesale and retail sector in food/beverage/health/wellness products.

c) Explain your understanding of the role of the Board of Directors in a business like Red River Coop?
The Board is the voice of Member Shareholders at the decision-making table and works in partnership with Management to achieve the Coop goals. The Board provides strategic direction to, and oversight of Management operations, and Directors have a duty of knowledge, skill, prudence, diligence, avoidance of personal interest, with the overall duty to act in the best interests of the Coop and its Members.

d) What experience have you had working with Coops? How has this prepared you for the position you are seeking?
Apart from being a Red River Coop customer and Member over many years, I now have gained 3 years first-hand knowledge and experience in governance of its operations. I have held leadership positions on the Board, attended RRC and FCL AGMs and Fall Conferences. On behalf of the Manitoba Chapter of the Institute of Corporate Directors, I organized an event on cooperative governance featuring past RRC Chair and current CEO.

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Ken Lamoureux

Having retired in 2012, my career spanned 35 years in Information Technology (18 years in financial services and 22 years in government). My diversity of experience includes work in the private, public and voluntary sectors. Positions included management and executive levels.

I am a life-long learner, avid reader and researcher. Certifications and accreditations include: ICD.D from the Institute of Corporate Directors and Rotman/Asper Schools of Business; Accredited Canadian Credit Union Director (ACCUD) from Dalhousie University/Credit Union Institute of Canada; and Certification in the Governance of Enterprise Information Technology (CGEIT) from ISACA. 

I currently serve on the Board of Cambrian Credit Union (Board Chair). I also served on the St. Boniface Hospital Board for 9 years. Board experience includes Finance & Audit, Governance, and Risk Management.

Questions:

a) Why are you interested in serving as a Board Director of Red River Coop?
Throughout my career, I have been active in the voluntary sector as I strongly believe in giving back to our community. My privileged duties for Cambrian are serving the membership as Chair of the Board of Directors. Prior Board experience has included: member of the Nominating Committee for the Canadian Internet Registration Authority , Saint-Boniface General Hospital (Vice Chair and member of the Finance and Audit Committee), United Way of Winnipeg (Campaign Cabinet and Board of Trustees), and others including professional associations.


The ownership structure, cooperative values and democratic governance sets cooperatives apart from other companies.
My experience, professional and volunteer, has equipped me with competencies that have enabled teams to work together to common purpose, empower people to achieve goals in an overall context of accountability, provide strategic leadership and sustain focus on the common good – reflective of the fundamental pillars of effective cooperative governance.


Effective governance in a cooperative environment demands deep knowledge of the complexities of balancing individual needs with the needs of the community as a whole. Poor governance contributes to the failure of cooperative enterprises.
I am a life-long learner, avid reader and researcher. Certifications and accreditations include: ICD.D from the Institute of Corporate Directors and Rotman/Asper Schools of Business; Accredited Canadian Credit Union Director (ACCUD) from Dalhousie University/Credit Union Institute of Canada; and Certification in the Governance of Enterprise Information Technology (CGEIT) from ISACA.


b) What are your strengths and how do you see these advancing the interests of the members of Red River Coop?
As stated above, my career has spanned over 35 years in the Information Technology industry, including 18 years in financial services. My diversity of experience has included work in the private sector, public sector and for charitable organizations. My career has involved a number of management positions, including Associate Manager, Systems Architecture and Planning at Great-West Life Assurance Company; Executive Director, Strategic Services in Business Transformation and Technology for the Province of Manitoba; and Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Manitoba Lotteries Corporation. I have specific experience and certification in the area of Corporate Governance and Information Systems & Technology governance.


Since retiring in 2012, I have focused my energies on Governance. The ACCUD, Accredited Canadian Credit Union Director, accreditation focused not only the credit union business but also on Cooperatives.


Both the ACCUD and ICD.D programs focused on managing at a Governance level that is, keeping our fingers out of Management’s operational responsibilities but yet putting our noses in to ensure corporate policies and strategies are being followed.


c) Explain your understanding of the role of the Board of Directors in a business like Red River Coop?
Overseeing a cooperative business isn’t as simple as some might think from years gone by. Red River Coop is a complex business that encompasses not just fuel, i.e. gasoline for general use but also fuel for the transportation & agriculture industries, food services, pharmaceuticals and building supplies.


The Board must be competent with reading and understanding the organization’s financial documents as well as other reports indicating compliance with government regulations and internal strategic direction. Understanding the concept of profit & loss within a cooperative model, where high profits are not the goal but rather providing products and services at a reasonable cost to our members.


The Board must be working with management in developing corporate strategies to further the aims of Red River Coop within its mandate and vision for the future. I have experience working on Boards that oversee very complex businesses. Cambrian Credit Union and the Saint Boniface Hospital are two organizations that are very complex organizations on which I served: St. Boniface Hospital for over 9 years and Cambrian Credit Union for six years.


d) What experience have you had working with Coops? How has this prepared you for the position you are seeking?
I bring knowledge, cross-sectoral experience and a track record of success in governance, effective strategic planning and a clear understanding of the duties, responsibilities, accountabilities and liabilities of the Board and, experience in the application of the concepts of good governance for strong cooperative performance.


I also bring knowledge of finance and a strong belief in the importance of exchange of diverse ideas and opinions while ensuring a sustained focus on the resolution of issues.


In addition, as stated earlier, I have attained two designations while on the Board of Directors of Cambrian Credit Union (2012 – present). This demonstrates my focus on life-long learning and a strong desire to provide competent service to the Board.

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Ivan Horvey

I have worked for 40 years in various management capacities for a number of co-operatives in Western Canada. Most notably would be the role of Petroleum Marketing Manager for Federated Co-operatives Limited, first in Saskatoon and then in Winnipeg, beginning in 1989 until my retirement in 2017. These roles developed my competencies in petroleum marketing, co-operative financial analysis, environmental best practices and co-operative board leadership.

Earlier I worked in the feed industry as a feed plant manager and sales representative for Federated and Lloydminster Co-operatives.

While I was performing these roles, I actively farmed the family farm, honed my skills as a guitar and bluegrass banjo player and, most importantly, my wife and I have raised three wonderful children.

Questions:

a) Why are you interested in serving as a Board Director of Red River Coop?
I have gained experience with the many years of employment with retail co-operatives and have a desire to give back this knowledge for the Red River Co-op board. Additionally, the passion my family history has had for co-operative development and sustainability has been passed on to me. This insight has my interests focused on ensuring that Red River Co-op maintains relevance, financial strength and a sense of community.
I still enjoy the challenges of business decision-making and have the drive to make sure the board fully understands its challenges.

b) What are your strengths and how do you see advancing the interests of Members of Red River Coop?
My strengths are in retail co-operative development and marketing, decision making, petroleum environmental stewardship, and business planning and acumen. These competencies will advance the interests of members by assisting in thoughtful direction for Red River Co-op so that it has relevance in respective commodities and markets that the co-operative currently operates in and may have the opportunity to operate in the future.

Since I have had environmental stewardship training and work experience, I am well suited to protect member assets.
I recognize the skills required by co-operative management staff in order to perform their roles effectively and can provide board support to ensure these skills are at work for the co-operative through recruitment and training.

I have had the responsibility of being a brand ambassador and consequently recognize the importance of an organization recognizing their brand characteristics. This strength means I can advance the interests of members by promoting the co-operative brand to existing members and future members. It also means the board of directors operates with integrity, responsibility, and accountability.

c) Explain your understanding of the role of the Board of Directors in a business like Red River Coop?
The role of a board member is to provide policy direction and review, oversee management performance, ensure management has the skills to perform, and provide members with the co-operative’s status. The role also includes ensuring that Red River Co-op operates in a safe and efficient manner. The board is to function as a sounding board for management to assist them in the organization’s direction. At the same time, the board is not to hinder management from performing their role of running the co-operative’s operations.

The board on occasion may have a responsibility to meet with governments to advance the co-operative’s and members' interests.

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Umar Hayat

I am a volunteer at St. Amant, Winnipeg harvest and Siloam mission. I have done MBA (Marketing). I have more than 20 years of experience in stock market investments, real estate construction and forex trading. I am highly conversant with, and interested in, economic, financial and political affairs of the country. I was a Mayoral Candidate in 2018 Winnipeg civic elections.

Questions:

a) Why are you interested in serving as a Board Director of Red River Coop?
I have been co op member since 2012. I have always loved the way this Organization works and the tremendous growth it has shown over the years. However, I believe there has been some dubious financial decision making recently by the board of directors such as investing in grocery business. I strongly believe that I can positively affect the financial decision making of red river coop with the help of my knowledge and expertise in financial and economic matters.

b) What are your strengths and how do you see these advancing the interests of the members of Red River Coop?
I am team player with economic and financial background. I base my decisions on facts and figures. The residents of Winnipeg know me as “numbers guy” because of my focus on statistics of everything during Mayoral debates. I would like to get coop members better rebate every year. With 250,000 members, Red River coop can achieve success readily by investing in credit union.

c) Explain your understanding of the role of the Board of Directors in a business like Red River Coop?
Broad policy making, setting the vision of the Organization, exploring profitable and viable investment opportunities and making sound financial decisions based on latest market data are some of the primary responsibilities of the board of directors at a business like Red River Coop.


d) What experience have you had working with Coops? How has this prepared you for the position you are seeking?
Although I don’t have experience working specifically with coops, my background in economics and finance coupled with international exposure equips me with every skill needed for this position. I believe bringing more value to the customers for their money is the way forward for the Organization, and the one that will ensure greater profits and growth for the Organization.

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